Friday, July 5, 2024

Highlights from the Company Symposium 2024

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a symposium organized by our company for the first time. It was an incredible experience that inspired me. The day started with our CEO, Jonathan Fletcher, sharing insights on the CFC journey "beyond the mountain", and how we become the best tech organisation in insurance.

Next, we had an inspirational talk delivered by Derek Redmond OLY on the topic of "Raising the Bar." 

He shared this quote that stuck in my head - "You are not working outside your comfort zone; you are increasing the size of your comfort zone.." I see this as an expansion of the most famous quote "stepping out of the comfort zone."

He then mentioned that you should not expect different results by doing the same thing. Do things differently to get different results, and I completely agree with this. Derek then gave a few examples, one of which was about how Airbnb became a hugely successful marketplace without owning a product. He shared this example to convey the message "To go above and beyond, do things differently." Resilience is so much needed when you're trying to do things differently.

He then shared his emotional Olympic story of getting injured mid-race during the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. It was really emotional to see how Derek had his hamstring injury mid-race 
semi-final but continued the race limping and, with help from his father, managed to complete a full lap of the track and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. His courage to never give up! He was injured but still wanted to finish the race, and how he broke down while his dad walked with him. Champions of today are losers of yesterday who never gave up. 

He then shared this framework, which I found very helpful and a key takeaway - ADAPT

A - Acceptance is key. In his example, it was about accepting the injury.
D - Direction/Destination , Taking a break due to injury won't change the direction, as it's still the same.
AAlternative, exploring different possibilities and considering alternative courses of action. 
P - Process/Procedure/Plan
T - Transition the path into an action

Next up we had our Group CEO, Louise O and here's another quote  that was stuck with me - "Everything everywhere can be improved at all times". I soo much agree to this. There's always room for improvement in anything thar we do.

Aside from the insightful talks, we also enjoyed a lovely lunch and networking session at Symposium 2024. It was very well organized, and it was a great way to take a break from everyday work, come together to reflect, and look ahead as a company. I'm already eagerly anticipating next year's event.

And how could I forget to mention the location? The views were incredible and stunning. I'm sure you would agree with me. 😁

Monday, January 1, 2024

Year in Review : Reflecting on 2023

As we wrap up another year, I spent some time on reflecting on the highs and lows of 2023, a year that brought its fair share of challenges and achievements. This tradition of year-end reflection not only helps me appreciate the journey but also sets the stage for what lies ahead.

I've been doing this tradition of reflecting back on a year for the last four years, and it's been great to look back at each year-end review. It's like flipping through the pages of a personal growth journal, seeing the progress, the lessons learned, and the challenges overcome. Here's a snapshot of my 2023 story:

  • 2023 kicked off with me joining Ship30for30, a writing course that taught me the importance of consistency, generating ideas, and embracing constructive feedback. Check out my 30-day writing adventure here.
  • Throughout the year, I had the pleasure of being a guest on various podcasts, discussing topics like observability for testers, the importance of representation, and the concept of shifting testing left. You can catch some of these conversations πŸ‘‡
    • Shweta on QA Q & A - here
    • Interview with Nicola Lindgren - here
    • Marie Cruz and Nicole van der Hoeven on Adobo & Avocados - here
    • Conversation with Ruslan Akhmetzianov - here
  • My time at Thoughtworks was like a journey through a place where I learned and grew a lot. Working with great co-workers on different projects, making friends forever, and tackling challenges have all contributed to shaping a better version of myself.

"Growth always happens when you step out of your comfort zone."

  • One of the personal milestones of the year was delivering workshops at conferences. From a 99-minute session on continuous testing to an in-person workshop on inclusive cross-functional requirements, the feedback from attendees was incredibly rewarding. You can find more about these workshops here. If any conference is seeking workshops on these topics, feel free to reach out to me as I'm looking to do more of these in 2024. Apart from these workshops, I got an opportunity to be part of a panel discussion on 'Driving a culture of quality' at TestBash Autumn 2023. It was an honour to be part of this alongside Ben Dowen and Calab Grandall.
  • Said goodbye to Thoughtworks and jumped into a new role as the Quality Practice Lead at CFC. The first month has been a rollercoaster of learning, and I'm excited about what's coming next.
  • In response to health challenges stemming from remote work(not taking frequent breaks), I committed to a journey of healthy eating habits. Shedding 12 kgs wasn't just about adopting healthy habits but also about dedication, consistency, and bouncing back after setbacks. This achievement stands out as a personal highlight for me in 2023.
  • Being named a RisingSTAR Finalist was an honor. While my idea on cross-functional requirements didn't take the top spot, standing among brilliant finalists was a win in itself.

  • Additionally, I contributed as part of the program review team for TestΞΌ 2023 by Lambdatest, adding my voice to the testing community as a reviewer. I was also invited to be a Llambdatest Spartan which is a great community to be part of.

As I bid farewell to 2023, I acknowledge its ups and downs. Each challenge has contributed to my growth, and I'm proud of how I've navigated them. Despite falling short on consistent blogging, 2024 holds a simple goal—write at least 5 blogs. Putting it out here for public accountability! πŸ˜„

In closing, I'm grateful for the experiences and lessons of 2023. Here's to growth, resilience, and the untold stories awaiting in 2024! πŸŒŸπŸŽ‰

Stay tuned for more adventures! ✨